Risks and rewards in used car buying

Over the past several years, the Philadelphia economy has gotten mixed reviews. Some aspects of the economy have been strong while others could use a bit more beefing up. For the average person, the spotty news means that it is often wise to keep the belt tight, especially when making major purchases such as automobiles.

For many car shoppers, it makes the most sense to purchase a used car. The New York Times recently listed the pros and cons of various types of used-car sellers, cautioning that making a poor choice can too often result in auto repossession.

One of the increasing popular types of independent used-car dealerships is the superstore CarMax. In fact, the company has one of its no-haggle locations near Philadelphia.

While no-haggle might be a good for a shopper's nerves, it typically means that prices will be slightly higher than you might find from other dealers. However, most of their cars are less than 10 years old and are backed by 30-day warranties.

The warranties reduce risks for buyers, of course.

The Times says the risks are substantially greater when purchasing a vehicle from a "buy here, pay here" lot. While these dealers directly finance your purchase, they often insist that monthly payments are made in person.

And their interest rates are usually considerably higher than you would find elsewhere.

That combination of factors can far too often result in missed payments and repossessions.

Consumer advocates urge buyers to be very careful at these types of dealerships. The high interest rates sometimes create financial burdens that can't be met. And these dealers are often perfectly happy to repossess vehicles.

If your car has been wrongfully repossessed, you can speak with a consumer protection attorney experienced in protecting rights and property.

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